By Faith: Arise and Build

Churchwide Banquet, December 8, 1985

At a time in the last century, before the automobile, before electric lighting, before TV and even before radio, a group of the people of God had the faith to arise and build a ministry to reach Mableton and the surrounding community for Christ. On October 8, 1886, a group of Christians petitioned Concord Church to sponsor a mission in the Mableton Community. Though the world was very different from today, the Spirit of God moved in the hearts of the people as they reached out in faith to begin a new ministry, to build a new church.

The new church was organized on September 4, 1887. This sketch of the first church building to house the Mableton First Baptist Church was made from a verbal description of the structure by Mr. Billy Daniell. Among the charter members were names that are still familiar in our congregation: Glore, Barber, Seay, Thomas, Starnes, Peak, Moss.

We were only able to find a partial photograph of that first structure. It was located on the site of the red brick building. It was lit by oil lamps on the center posts and walls, and hated by a coal heater in the front of the building. I'll bet there weren't many "back-row-Baptists" on cold January Sundays! That building no longer exists, but the faith that was fostered in that structure will never die. It is a part of our spiritual heritage and we pay tribute to the courage of those who had the faith to arise and build.

The people of Mableton First Baptist came to a time when they were asked to make a great leap of faith. It was 1932, in the middle of the great depression, when few new ventures were being taken and material survival was the mood of the country. But the small wooden frame structure just wasn't adequate for this community of faith and the people had a dream of a new sanctuary and additional space and they had the faith to arise and build.

It was decided to build the new sanctuary on the site of the old, making use of as much of the material from the old as possible. The congregation met in the school auditorium during construction.

The men and women of Mableton gave sacrificially to begin the building. Some gave bricks, some brought lumber. Others contributed labor as they struggled to build to honor God and minister to man.

They dreamed of the church's first baptistry, and of space under one roof

In 1936 the people rejoiced in the completion of the building, the culmination of much faith and sacrifice and hard work.

Many of you remember the pride of dedicating that sanctuary to the service of God.

A number of you were baptized in that sanctuary, and many were wed there.

It was an exercise of faith in depression times which said, "our children will need a place to worship. We need a place to bring people to hear the Word of God."

In 1957 a new initiative of faith was taken in the building of the structure which now serves as our Fellowship Hall. The type of fait which characterized this building foretold the shape of things to come.

The building contained the elements of a dream - while functional as it stood, it was in the hearts of the builders a s stepping stone to future development.

The next step in that development came when the church called as pastor a young minister by the name of David York.

Well, maybe he wasn't quite that young, but he brought a dynamic and loving spirit.

In 1966, under his leadership, the people of Mableton First Baptist Church arose in faith to build the second story over the Fellowship Hall,

the area which serves our Kindergarten and Sunday School,

and our present sanctuary.

The crowd which gathered for worship could rejoice to see the results of their gifts.

Like those who built the Fellowship Hall sanctuary,

they who labored and sacrificed to build the new sanctuary did so with the elements of a dream for the future.

The sanctuary was built as a two-story rectangular structure with all the supports necessary for the adding of a second floor with the dream of converting it into a fine educational facility at a future date.

The faith of those of you who arose and built the present facility has borne much fruit.

This facility has served as a place to teach our children about Jesus. The Sunday School for all ages is our main Bible Study opportunity